Video: Can F1 take hold Stateside?

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Last season, the United States Grand Prix successfully re-launched deep in the heart of Texas, with Lewis Hamilton coming away with the victory at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. But now comes the hard part — keeping it going.

A capacity crowd showed up at the country’s newest speed palace to witness Hamilton earn what was, at least for now, his final triumph with McLaren before he jumped to Mercedes this off-season. The on-track product at COTA was solid and a multi-day fan festival away from the track won good reviews from fans.

However, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn knew that one race wouldn’t be enough to grow Formula One’s presence in the States.

“The first year you come to a race at a facility like this, it’s great to see what fantastic support it’s had — but it’s about maintaining that support,” Brawn told The New York Times following last year’s USGP.

So what comes next? Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett discussed the matter as part of the season preview episode for NBC Sports Network’s “F1 Countdown.”

In case you haven’t caught the show yet, you can see an encore presentation on NBCSN this Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.